In the quiet white landscape, life is stirring. We are turning the Wheel, moving away from Winter and journeying toward Spring. It is Imbolc.
Imbolc is celebrated on February 1st or 2nd, or astrologically when the Sun reaches 15 degrees of Aquarius. I celebrate the season for a week or more beginning on the first of February, culminating with an astrologically timed ritual. This year the Sun will reach 15 degrees of Aquarius just after midnight on February 4th.
Also called: Candlemas, Imbolg Brigantia, Oimelc, Earrach, Brigit’s Day, Groundhog Day, Disting, Candelaria, Snowdrop Festival, Feast of the Virgin, Lupercus
Moon Phase Equivalent: Waxing Crescent Moon
Direction: North East Time of Day: Pre Dawn
Colors: White, Silver, Pale Yellow, Cobalt Blue, Orange, Red
Herbs: Angelica, Birch, Basil, Bay, Benzoin, Blackberry, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Coltsfoot, Crocus, Frankincense, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Primrose, Saffron, Snowdrop
Gemstones: Amethyst, Hematite, Garnet, Turquoise
Themes: Honoring Brigit in her triple aspect of poet, smith and healer; blessing seeds, burning Yule evergreens as an act of banishing winter; the first stirrings of spring, lambing and the flow of milk; first Spring cleaning activities begin, candle blessing, lighting candles to celebrate the waxing light; honoring the Goddess in her Maiden aspect; veneration and decoration of holy wells and springs; smooring the hearth fire; honoring Brigit’s sacred flame; making a Brigit’s cross or sun wheel; this is a traditional time for initiations and rites of passage.
This year's altar is covered with a vintage white woven cloth to symbolize the snows of Winter. In the North I have placed an image of the Goddess Brigit and three pots of tete a tete daffodils to bring the element of Earth and to remind us of the promise of Spring. A large quartz crystal sits on a piece of Birch Bark.
In the East, a feather that has been fashioned into a quill brings in the energy of the Air element. The quill also reminds us that Brigit is a goddess of creativity, inspiration and poetry.
This oil lamp represents the Sacred Flame of the Goddess Brigit who is also the goddess who rules smithcraft. When lit, the lamp brings in the element of Fire. Brigit takes the inspiration of the poet and begins to manifest idea into solid form in the flame of her forge.
In Western quadrant of the altar is the chalice, with water from the Holy Well. The small vial contains water from Brigit's well in Ireland which was a gift from a friend and student. I will add a drop to the chalice during my ritual and drink in the sacred vibration. Water is a recorder of energy. Miraculous waters from wells and springs have been used since ancient times for healing. Brigit's third aspect is that of healer.
More on Imbolc over the next few days. May you enjoy the season!